Graduate Studies

Grading System

The University uses an A through F grading system.

  • Letter grades with point value:
    • A+ (4.0), A (4.0), A- (3.67)
    • B+ (3.33), B (3.0), B- (2.67)
    • C+ (2.33), C (2.0), C- (1.67)
    • D+ (1.33), D (1.0), D- (0.67)
    • F (0)
  • Grades without point value:
    • W (dropped/withdrew)
    • I (incomplete), IP (in progress), XP (no progress)
    • P (pass/C or better), N (no pass)

Graduate students taking undergraduate classes for deficiencies generally have a grade requirement set by the department. However, if no specific standard has been set, the graduate student is required to meet the same standard an undergraduate would be held to. That is, if the class is taken Pass/No pass, pass is the equivalent of a C or better.

Scholastic Grade Requirements

The following minimum grades are required to earn credit in graduate-level courses:

Course List
Courses in the major department or area applied toward a degree All other courses applied toward a degree or a graduate certificate
800-level with 400 or lower counterpart B C or P
900-level and 800-level without 400 or lower counterpart C or P C or P

The comprehensive exam for the minor may be waived if all grades in the minor are at least a B or P (pass). Courses taken to fulfill requirements for a graduate certificate and later applied toward a graduate degree must meet the minimum grade requirements for the degree, which may be higher.

Grades below the minimum requirement cannot be applied toward a degree or graduate certificate. Students failing to receive a minimum acceptable grade may not continue their program of studies without permission of their supervisory committee or the departmental graduate committee.

In Progress vs. Incomplete

IP and XP: For research, thesis, and dissertation hours

  • In Progress (IP) indicates satisfactory work in progress. The student is making progress or effort as determined by the faculty supervisor (research effort, literature review, draft chapters, etc.).
    • The IP stands until successful defense and acceptance of the research project, thesis, or dissertation, when a P or letter grade is submitted.
  • No Progress (XP) indicates lack of adequate progress.
    • Because XP is not used in GPA calculation, no direct academic sanction (such as academic dismissal from the University) will be imposed for earning one or more XP grades. However, graduate programs may use a series of XP grades as a basis for terminating a student from the program. Graduate committees should define these criteria, document them in graduate student handbooks, and discuss the process with their students.

On a transcript IP and XP count toward attempted hours, but for Financial Aid they count differently. Any IP or XP grades remaining at graduation will convert to I, if not graded as P or with a letter grade.

Use of IP and XP instead of I for graduate research, thesis, and dissertation hours is recommended by the UNL Graduate Council as of October 9, 2014. The I grade impacts satisfactory academic progress (SAP) assessments in ways that can result in a student's federal financial aid being suspended, while IP and XP differentiate whether progress is being made, enabling more appropriate assessment and avoiding unnecessary aid suspensions and appeals.

I: For any other courses/hours

The grade of Incomplete (I) should be used only for courses that are not graduate research, thesis, or dissertation hours.

For any I grade in a graduate course, the instructor of the course determines the requirements and deadlines for completing it. It is helpful to have these expectations in writing to prevent miscommunication.

  • A student with a grade of I should not re-register for that course within the time frame for the removal of the I. Re-registration will incur new tuition charges.
  • If the instructor leaves the University prior to the date set for the completion of a course, the chair of the academic department of the course will assume the role of the instructor.

When requirements are satisfied, the instructor replaces the I with a grade indicating completion. Some courses must become graded (not I).

  • All Incomplete courses on the Memorandum of Courses or Program of Study must become graded prior to graduation.
  • Graduate courses not on the Memorandum or Program and not to be used to complete the degree may remain I. The grade of I will be on the transcript but will not affect the GPA.
  • Undergraduate courses receiving an I will lapse into the grade of F after one calendar year.

Grade Appeals

Appeal of grades in graduate-level courses shall be made through the graduate student grade appeal procedures for the campus through which the grade was awarded.

  • Students who believe their evaluation in a course has been prejudiced or capricious must first attempt to resolve the matter with the Course Instructor within 30 days of the posting of the grade report by the Office of the University Registrar.
  • If unsuccessful, the student may then file a written appeal to the Graduate Chair for consideration by the Graduate Committee responsible for the administration of the course. This appeal must be filed within 60 days of the posting of the grade report by the Office of the University Registrar. If the department does not have a graduate program, the standing grade appeal committee of the department would consider the appeal. A written determination of the appeal shall be presented to the student and instructor.
  • If the matter is unduly delayed or not resolved, the student may present the original appeal documentation to the Dean of Graduate Education who shall request a review by a subcommittee of the Graduate Council. A final appeal may be made to the full Graduate Council, if it agrees to hear the case. Since awarding grades in courses occurs at the individual campus level, the decision of the Graduate Council shall be final and is not subject to further appeal beyond the campus.
  • If the instructor’s grade is overturned, the instructor of record has the right of appeal, in writing, at the same successive levels of review.

SOURCE: Graduate Council Minutes (March 9, 1993; revised August 16, 2018)